Due to having some other work on board I elected to have a good mooch around my local area as the day was sufficiently pleasant , despite a brisk wind that had been even stronger overnight and thrown the bins across the yard! Whilst I live only a kilometre in from the coast , I'm surrounded by grass moorland but with a fringing boundary of coniferous woodland to the east. All "neighbours", a farm in either direction , are well out of sight which puts me in a nicely isolated position to observe what is happening and easily note movement or arrivals of birds.
Excuse the Daffodils as the photograph was taken somewhat later than early January, although I have to say that I have Daffodils peeping up already at various points.
So I set off from the house where the local Starlings appear to have returned, and the odd Blackbird is wintering. The coast showed the inevitable G.B.B.G and Herring Gulls wheeling around and a couple of passing Shag, but little else. Surprisingly, as yet, the gulls have been absent from the hill slopes opposite the house, which is often a feature of early in the year and centres on areas where fodder is being put out for cattle. The only regular visitors to those areas are Hooded Crows and Ravens , both species of which were around at different times during the day. Prominent as well were two, possibly three, Buzzards which flew over or were perched on fence posts.
Otherwise the only species encountered were odd Pheasant, a Redwing , a few Fieldfare and a single Woodpigeon. No small birds were on the woodland fringes, which was a surprise, nor was there even the odd Wren, Reed Bunting or Meadow Pipit present. After the usual autumn influx, Robins have strangely disappeared , as have Stonechats, which were at a low population level anyway as a result of last winter. So , a salutary reminder that we are still in the depths of winter, although things could be far worse and replicate the conditions we were suffering from early in 2011. Given I've just retrieved most of my scattered garden bird feeders after the "big blow" last week, I'm sure a resumption in food being available outside my window will soon see a handful of eager visitors appearing.
As dusk fell overflying Barnacle Geese and a few Greenland White-fronted Geese moving to roost from local feeding areas added quality to the day!